Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First Meet

I never did talk with my parents about adoption. Sometime during my eighth month I agreed to it. I said ok. I gave in. Other people told me why I should, counselors, social workers, ministers, my boyfriend and my parents. I shut up.

When I told my folks that Joy had contacted me and I was going to meet her, they asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that. I said yes. Everyone was surprised because I'd held it all inside of me for so long. I never shared what I felt. There had been no reason to share. It was all pain and helplessness. There was nothing anyone else could or would do because everyone else thought adoption was the "right thing to do".

All the lies of the adoption machine were still in place in everyone else's heads. Actually they were very active in my head as well. But my head and my heart were on different programs.

My memories are all jumbled now. I think Joy and I had been in contact about three months when I had the opportunity to return to the west coast for my grandfather's memorial service. She suggested we meet in a coffee shop.

It's funny to look back and remember worrying about how I looked. I wanted her to be favorably impressed -- attracted to me. I don't think I ever was more careful about how I looked, even though I was only wearing (pink)shorts and a (white)sweater. I think. I just remember looking in the mirror and worrying before I left. I wanted to look like me, but better.

I found the coffeeshop and recognized I'd seen the building before but never been in it. Did we meet in the parking lot?

I just remember she felt nervous to me. We both seemed apprehensive. I remember sitting across from her, looking straight at her. Her brow ridge looked like her father's. And just like she had told me on the phone; she had blue eyes to my brown.

I don't remember what we said. It was surreal. We'd lived just minutes from each other, but in different realms. Now we were in contact and I lived 2000 miles away. I was again rebelliously taking off from my parent's home, this time to see my child who was now a mother herself.

She had a whole life that was foreign to me. I felt like an invader, afraid to claim her, waiting for her cues. On the phone she had told me she wasn't angry. And she wasn't looking for a mother. She already had one. She told me she lied a lot.

At this first meeting I probably didn't say much, like usual. I was at such a loss.

I didn't want to scare her off. I believed all those lies about her wonderful chosen baby status. None of it made sense though. I had a lot to lose and I wanted to say the right thing. We were on storm tossed seas.

It was a brief and odd meeting. I'm glad we met. Next one will be better. OXOXOXOOOOO

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Mostly I've been sick for the past five days. I've been sick a lot this year. Several people have noticed my usual chipper self has been in the shop.

Seldom feeling ill has allowed me a luxury of enjoying the down time. That's caught up to me so that I'm wondering why I've needed so much down time lately-- To experience letting go, being "out of control"-- Learning to cooperate.

The one thing that's hung over me is have I dropped my end of the game in my electronic relationship with my baby? I had so much rolling around my head a few days ago. But I don't remember what it was.

I've luxuriated in being fussed over by my sweetie. And when I feel particularly spunky I get up and read blogs. But not too much. He's out doing the shopping now and I said I was going to saute some mushrooms to go with the leftovers...

But I just wanted to say hello first.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Well that last post had a lot of repercussions for me, to get out of the past, the uncovering, and move into what can I do now? How can I expand our relationship now?

Many years have gone by since what I last wrote about. My husband and I are moving forward integrating Joy's and my relationship. I talk about my feelings with him more, although I'm still a little guarded and protective. That's an area of responsibility that I am expanding in. I talk to Buster and Ezzy about Joy as much as they seem comfortable with, sometimes pushing their comfort zones. I got on My Space so they would have access to each other by being my "friends". The only other blood relative is my brother and for reasons beyond my current understanding he and I hardly see each other. I can't really include his kids at this point.

Reading many other people's blogs has helped me open up and claim my own reality and encouraged me to share it with Joy and everyone else in my life. Sometimes I am quite clumsy about it.

Sometimes my sensitivity seems to be limited to my feelings. Maybe more rather than less often that's been the case. I still hold out hope for me and my maturational process.

I am hoping to see Joy in April. I'll probaby go somewhere near where she lives. I don't know her preference yet and I want to do whatever she prefers, to the best of my ability.

I guess I just want any input anyone has on how to better go about this, to let her know as fully as possible that I do love her. Always have, always will.

I do. But it's more important to me that she experience being loved than that she recognize I love her. I know that she gets that from most of those of you that have left me (and her)comments. And that warms my heart too.

I am grateful for that which I am about to receive.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


OK. What do I have to say? I woke up this morning looking afresh at the past. How do I pull this together? Suz's posting of Joss Shawyer's article initiated another roll of the adoption story in my psyche. The article included this: "... the first mother must deal with her own pain in another forum, by entering into therapy, by talking to other women who understand, by kicking holes in a wall, by doing whatever helps." What a concept! I didn't know I needed help, support. I thought I was supposed to be a grown woman now, competent, with children "of my own". It was the "children of my own" that gave me the first glimmer of what I was dealing with. Originally I had no shame, only pain. I didn't care who knew about my failure at motherhood. The pain was much more important to acknowledge than trying to keep up appearances. My parents were the ones that didn't want anyone to know - wanted me to get on with my life productively, to put the past behind me. I distanced myself from them because they didn't want to talk about the most important event of my life. Moving on was messy, but I moved and moved and moved. Until 12 years later when my son was born. And I devoted myself to motherhood, with insecurity as well as gusto.

Buster and Ezzy were in school, (spouse) was in graduate school. I was teaching kindergarten. We'd moved to the midwest, learning to live with ice and cold. And (out of the blue) Joy calls. A new kind of fear entered my consciousness. For the first time I was ashamed. I tried to look at the situation through Buster's eyes. How could I tell him I had given my firstborn away? I was his mother! What would he think? If I could sacrifice one child, why not him? What in the world was keeping me and him together? What in the world could have separated his beloved grandparents from their first grandchild? Projecting myself into his point of view was horrifying.

I tried to put distance between him and Joy, to make it impossible that I could have done something so horrible. I had to make it not horrible, just something that happened that he couldn't, wouldn't have to possibly understand. Nobody wanted to acknowledge what had happened. Everyone had their own reasons. They all had to do with it being too horrible. I clung to and repeated the story I'd been fed, about how my baby was wanted by a family that could really take care of her, really love and support her, in the way I couldn't. I was too young. I didn't go into the shaming of how it was also because I had no husband. Or that my parents refused to help me with my child. Or that I was just too alone to raise a child. I didn't want my kids to see their mother as a loser, unwanted. So I made it out like it was all ok(!?!?!?!) Yep everything's fine here. Don't you worry about a thing. We're a happy family here.

All that trauma, all that pain would just have to go someplace else. That's supposed to be a secret. That didn't even really happen. So yeah, Joy and I will have an occasional phone call. We'll write letters, see each other every couple of years. We even started an email correspondence of frequent misunderstandings that is so damn messy we'll just keep it away from Buster and Ezzy. There's something wrong with Mom and Joy but it's their problem. No one else needs to be brought into their mess.

When Buster and Ezzy became hormonally charged teenagers I brought up the fact that I personally knew that an unplanned pregnancy was devastating. Losing my baby to adoption was the worst experience of my life and should be avoided at all costs. But I haven't yet told them that it was the worst thing that ever happened to my baby too. They are no longer 'teens'. They are doing well. I am sharing more and more about my relationship with Joy and her beauty and success. I have fantasies about moving more and more into "normalcy", meaning open acceptance of all of my family, my three children knowing each other, knowing they are siblings, not separated. They grew up in a strange kind of broken home, separated. I am bringing them together inside myself, so I can share them with each other and give them the choice to share with each other too.

This blogosphere is my therapy.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Being Me

I am loving my old drafts as much as any published posts and enjoying incorporating them.

Conception: Here I go responding to someone else's issues/concerns. But why? I suspect I am again trying to justify as well as to explain myself. It's not as simple as it looks from your angle. From a distance you know it looks so much better. Soft focus.

Everyone wants to think they were conceived in love, their particular definition of love. What if we were each conceived in love? The love that was available at the time.

Oh I've entered my impatient phase and I'm trying to balance. I remember KimKim's happiness pact and I am striving to be happy. I am happy! I am remembering that I get what I look for. I am looking for the good, for the divine, in people and situations. That's what I want.

It's fabulous that I am responding to other people's issues and concerns. It's really prodding me to examine my own, to remind me to get on track myself. That's what this blogging is all about, learning about myself so that I can better participate in my relationships.

Name that J.

Last night my fabulous son helped me set up a MySpace account, (friends only). So far he's my only friend. The first thing I noticed is that it opens up with "Hi Justice" because that's the name I listed on my "profile". That's not my name. J. is the alias I was given before I broke into this blogging adventure. J. is too anonymous for me. I considered expanding it to Jemima or Jezebel too. Justice kind of appealed to me in the way I paraphrased it from the Bible: instead of "vengeance is mine" (so says the Lord) I was thinking "justice is mine". That makes me God's, and I like being on God's side. Justice also rings with "doing myself justice" as in doing myself right, doing my best-- even reaching to practicing judiciousness, wisdom.

Maybe it's my developing judiciousness that took a closer look at Justice when I saw "Hi Justice" on the top of my My Space. I started to think about what other people might read into the name Justice. As in seeking justice, righting wrongs, justifying, vigilantes. Ambivalence reigns.

My son certainly didn't seem to take any of those connotations from it. But I guess seeing Tom pop up as "my friend" (before Buster explained Tom is simply the Myspace administrator, everybody's "friend") gave me pause to consider how I appear to those that know me only from the internet. While it may often feel that I'm just talking to myself, I'm also talking to the whole world.

What do I want to say to the whole world?

This morning I went through "J" in the dictionary, looking for the most appropriate J. I could find. I like Joy best but it's taken. Jubilant is too much as is jubilation. Jewel, January(as a feminine form of Janus), Joinery, Journey, Jordan and jus sanguine are all up for consideration at this time.

I'm exploring, finding ways that work, cooperating with what is. I am overcoming resistance; not wanting to take an alias, wanting my regular name. And I am expanding into new territory in the name of privacy. I am wondering about the overlaps of secrecy and privacy.

Monday, January 01, 2007


When Joy first talked about not looking like her aparents I really didn't get the significance. My reference point was people talking about how adopted kids usually turn out looking like they fit in their afamilies. But she didn't. She didn't match or fit the profile.

At a Christmas gathering this year with my husband's family there were 17 of us including a fiance. People were remarking how much the fiance looked like another brother. He fit right into the family. I and another woman were the only ones besides the fiance that weren't blood relatives. Sharing a little geneaology with her we discovered that we can trace ourselves back to a common ancestor. It's over 300 years, but we kind of look alike too. It's comforting to look around the room recognizing yourselves.

Genetics is only part of the picture. Living in close proximity with each other we learn to mimic facial expressions and verbal inflections. Our appearances are altered to match our family culture and to go along with the stories we tell each other. That's part of the mystery of discovering Joy. I recognize her so deeply within me in some ways. And in other aspects I look and wonder where they came from. Did it come from her father? From her afamily? Friends?

These layers of discovery are part of finding our way with each other.

Owning and Honoring

What more is there to say? KimKim nailed it with her post about secrets and lies. I am still learning to step more delicately around others' sensiblities, but I'm not cooperating with deceit.

I'm curious about Joy's many families. She's got her son and her ex husband and the inlaws/grandparents on that side. She's got the family she grew up with. She's got me with hints of siblings. She's got B and his clan. That's a lot to juggle on holidays -- and maintain her own sanity.

Lately everywhere I go I find someone to listen to me talk about me and Joy. People are excited to learn my family is bigger than they knew. I wonder how much of it is dependent on the way I introduce the story. Or is it just fun to learn there's more to me than meets the eye? Whatever, it's definitely different than the reactions I got when Ezzy and Buster were just 5 and 8 and it seemed people were somewhat put off by me announcing I had just reunited with my long lost daughter.

Breaking out of the silence. Many family members "knew" about the adoption, but I'd never really shared my experience with any of them. I'd felt cut off. Intervening years and maturing had brought us closer together. But I'd never talked to any of them about my loss or my hopes regarding Joy. There have been a lot of intervening years again and things are gradually normalizing ~ I think.

Instead of looking at me askance they inquire with interest. My family has expanded. There are more people to know and share with.

I am developing trust in myself, trusting that I have whatever is necessary to make this relationship work. Trusting that I am going to handle whatever comes up. Trusting that truth is bearable, whatever it is, because loves lies underneath it all. That's been my experience and I'm going with it.